On the 21st of September each year, the International Day Of Peace is observed across the globe encouraging people and communities to recognize the ideals of peace and recommit to strengthening its values. In 2019 the International Day of Peace reflected the fact that the world is currently facing a new danger, that of climate change and the theme was set as ‘Climate Action For Peace.’
Climate Action For Peace
“Today peace faces a new danger: the climate emergency, which threatens our security, our livelihoods, and our lives. That is why it is the focus of this year’s International Day of Peace. And it’s why I am convening a Climate Action Summit.”
— UN Secretary-General António Guterres
The 2019 theme for the International Day of Peace drew attention to the growing need to stand up and fight climate change in order to be able to continue to promote peace in the world. The effects of climate change on peace and national security are clear with natural disasters estimated to have displaced more than three times as many people from their homes as wars forcing millions of men, women, and children to seek sanctuary in other countries and to make treacherous journeys to safety.
Food security is also coming under threat from the salinization of crops and water and the growing tensions this causes over essential resources are impacting every country across the world. To achieve global peace, significant action is needed to combat climate change.
What is being done?
On the 23rd September 2019, the United Nations met at a Climate Action Summit to discuss how they could accelerate the actions outlined in the Paris Agreement which was first signed in 2016. To put pressure on politicians a global climate strike was held on the 20th of Septemeber which had more than four million participants. The results of the 2019 Climate Action Summit were deemed to be significant although it is thought that the arising actions may still not be enough to reduce the globes rising temperature by the 1.5 degrees needed to halt climate change. During the summit many pledges were made including:
- 77 countries and the EU pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero by the year 2050
- France agreed not to start any trade deals with any countries who have policies which do not align with the Paris Agreement
- Greece and Hungary pledged to stop their coal power stations by 2028 and 2030 and the Powering Past Coal Alliance grew.
- The EU pledged to give 25% of its budget to climate action in the following year
- Pakistan pledged to plant more than 10 billion trees by 2024
- The Central African Forest Initiative pledge to save the forest in central Africa, preventing the release of 70 gigatons of CO2, and protecting the livelihoods of 60 million people.
What can you do to help?
Although the 2019 theme for the International Day of Peace has now passed it is vital that we continue to tackle the climate crisis and each of us has a part to play in our homes, schools, and communities by raising awareness, holding and supporting the running of educational programs, promoting sustainable lifestyles, helping to conserve nature, supporting renewable energy alternatives and adopting environmentally friendly practices.